ten frugal strategies
It isn't just one strategy, or even ten, that I implement to save money. I employ a litany of frugal living strategies to keep my family's monthly budget under $350. Every single thing I do helps contribute to that. I ask myself when every need/want arises, "How can I do that better? How can I do that cheaper?" (The two aren't mutually exclusive!) When I ask these questions, I develop ideas that become habits for a frugal lifestyle. That's how easy it is to save money. The key is asking yourself the important questions and finding solutions that work for you and your family. Peace, B.
1. Bake/cook from scratch.
2. Buy used, if possible.
3. Stockpile your groceries by shopping with coupon sales ad match-ups.
4. Make your own laundry detergents and cleaners.
5. Grow your own food.
6. Don't spend what you don't have.
7. Share and trade goods and services.
8. Do it yourself.
9. Pay with cash.
10. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. (Unless you're the Joneses. Then, you're good to go.)
I share ideas about each of these strategies on the frugal living blog and you can find archived posts here.
I will try my very best to get through this post without making any juvenile jokes about meat and/or balls, but I make no promises.
The thing I like most about make ahead freezer meatballs is that they help make so many different quickie week night meals for my family. I can throw together meatball subs, spaghetti and meatballs, Swedish meatballs, meatball pizzas or calzones, barbecued meatballs, TexMex meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs, meatballs and orzo, peppers and pesto meatballs... Much like Bubba from Forrest Gump, we'll be nearly through with basic training by the time I name all the ways I can serve shrimp, I mean, meatballs.
That's... that's about it.
Make ahead meatballs aren't just convenient. They're frugal, too. Whenever I catch ground beef or turkey on sale, I buy it up and make a batch of meatballs for the freezer. It's a good way to use a cheaper cut of meat that's mixed with all kinds of goodness to help it stretch even further. A basic recipe is what I use and I can change it up according to however I'm preparing my meal. It's amazing to me how many different ethnic dishes I can make with this one make ahead staple. Who knew meatballs could be so versatile?
Must.Resist.Urge.To. Make. Salacious.Meatball. Remark.
How many meatballs are served per person depends on the meal. If we're having subs, more are consumed. If we're having spaghetti and meatballs, less. Typically, I serve 4 meatballs per adult, 3 per the older Littles (ages 13 and 17), and 2 per the little-Little (age 7). I generally package meatballs 20 to a bag. I don't measure each meatball by weight. I just eyeball it. We'll get into how to judge the size of each ball a little later. (Yes.)
I think working with meat is gross, but that's just me and my delicate sensibilities talking. (Not making any working with meat jokes. Not making any working with meat jokes.) Unfortunately, I haven't found another effective way to mix all the ingredients together except by hand. It's kind of gross and kind of interesting, too. I guess there is something satisfying about squishing the ingredients by hand. (Oh, dear lord.) I only mention this to prepare you for the mess you're gonna make when dealing with ten pounds of meat and all the fixin's listed above. (Not going there. Must.Not.Go.There.)
You'll find it easier to work in half batches. Just half all the ingredients and mix them, prep the meatballs, bake them, and while the first batch is baking, you can start on the second batch. Easy peasy, right?
I get about 14 dinners out of this and, if I'm frugal by using marked down meat, I spend about $1.25 for each packet of balls. (Yes.Yes.Yes.) Once I add pasta, sauce, or whatever else the recipe calls for, I'm looking at a very inexpensive main entree.
Woot, woot. Peace, B.
You'll need the following ingredients for about 300* meatballs:
10 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
5 onions, minced
10 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups bread crumbs or panko chips
(I make my own bread crumbs because I bake and I think they are better than store bought, but you can use whatever you like here.)
1 cup Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons black pepper
You'll also need:
a large mixing bowl
a chopper, food processor, or a good old cutting board and knife
foil lined cookie sheets
space to prep and cool the meatballs
*I usually get 12 trays of 24 meatballs or 288 meatballs from the recipe as it's listed above. That's a ton of balls. (Ahem.) Sometimes, I mix it up and make a few trays of mini meatballs for soups. (Because sometimes, small balls are better.)
The thing to remember if you want to make more or less meatballs is the following ratio: one pound ground meat, 1/2 onion, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 bread crumbs, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce, and about 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
How to make a ton of meatballs without destroying your kitchen and making yourself insane...
1. Gather together all of the ingredients and supplies listed above before you start.
2. Work in two batches.
3. Clear off a work space for mixing, rolling, prepping, cooling, etc before you start.
4. Clean as you go.
One Fabulous Confession
Whenever I pull a bag of make ahead meatballs from the freezer and a jar of homemade sauce from the stockpile for a last minute dinner not only do I dazzle my family with my domestic dominance, I feel like a mother loving homesteader who can kick Martha Stewart's ass.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mince onions and garlic. (I use my Pampered Chef chopper to do this, but you use what you like.)
In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients (you'll want to add the bread crumbs last, but whatever works for you) and squish together by hand.
Form the meatballs by taking a small amount of meat in your hand and rolling like play-doh. In the end, you need to have a meatball that's about an inch or an inch & a half in diameter. Don't stress over the size of each ball. You'll just want them relatively uniform in size and around that 1.5 inch mark. You'll be able to eyeball that after the first dozen or so.
Bake for 30 minutes. The meatballs will be browned all over.
I like to remove them from the cookie sheets and drain them on newspaper while they cool. I remove them with tongs by wiggling them back and forth a little (Seriously?) so they come off the foil easier and don't break apart.
You can freeze however many you need in each bag. Just be sure to note the contents, date, and quantity on each bag. You can also flash freeze the meatballs on the pan so the meatballs don't stick to one another in the bag, but I don't have much trouble with sticking. I just freeze the bags flat and they break apart where they touch relatively easy.
Featuring wonderful ways from around the web to waste not every Wednesday... repurposing, upcycling, recycling, repairing... being frugal means learning how to make life fabulous by consuming less and reusing more.
This week's post features how to
make glasses out of bottles!
Today's post is the love child of MacGyver and Martha Stewart! Using yarn, nail polish remover, fire, and ice water you can make drinking glasses from bottles. I know... how cool is that?! I found this idea here and here. I can't wait to put the abundance of cheap blue wine bottles to good use. Peace, B.
For more Waste Not Wednesday awesome-ness, go here.
Have a suggestion for Waste Not Wednesday? Send it to email@example.com.
Free Day in the Parks: Your State Parks Day
Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites are offering free parking and admission on Saturday, September 29, as part of National Public Lands Day. Sponsored by Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, the celebration brings attention to ways that parks enrich communities, plus the importance of local volunteerism. Choose from activities ranging from trail maintenance to lake cleanups.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
58 locations across Georgia
Found this idea here for simmering one sliced lemon, a few springs of rosemary, and a couple of teaspoons vanilla all day on the stove top, adding more water as needed. Yes, it really does work and yes, it really does smell like Spring time plue happy-ness! Peace, B.
I'm a fan of cheese. My Littles are as well. Mister OFM isn't, but I didn't find out about that until after I had already fallen in love with his sky blue eyes and rapier wit. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for cheesy things, I still serve lots of cheesy goodness for my family and friends.
This recipe is so yummy good and tastes so decadent that you'll receive frequent requests for it. No lie... I have a friend who says he expects fonduta when he comes to my house no matter if he's just stopping by for a quick hello. I have to remind him that I don't keep a small crock of it on the counter just in case he's in the neighborhood.
What makes this even more full of sunshine and win is that it's easy peasy to prepare and takes an hour to cook. Be sure to serve alongside thick chunks of Italian bread or focaccia on plates because it's a real mess. I like to pour this over grilled polenta and eat, but I'm kinda goofy like that.
You can easily half this recipe. As is, you can serve appetizer portions to a crowd of fifteen or more.
You'll need the following ingredients:
6 cups shredded Fontina cheese*
1 & 1/2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 cloves minced garlic
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup hot milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Whatever bread you choose to use for dipping cut into chunks. (I like to make platters of bread chunks pierced with toothpicks for parties. That way, folks can place a ladle of fonduta on their plates and dip their bread. If we're having a smaller get together, I just serve the bread in a basket alongside the fonduta and fondue forks.
*You'll need 24 ounces to get 6 cups shredded.
Add the cheese and half & half to your slow cooker. Cook on low heat for one hour. Add butter and garlic. Stir everything well.
Combine the egg yolks and the hot milk. Add this to the crock and give everything another good stir or two. Add the pepper.
Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
You can serve this from the crock, but if you are leaving it on the heating element (for a buffet table, etc.), set the heat to warm.
Oh, friends, to say I love this is an understatement. I am IN love with this idea. Not only is fun, funky, and fabulous, but it's a wonderful way to reuse something I have in abundance. (It's no secret I can throw back some wine, y'all.) I have been searching for a way to display the copious amount of incredible art from my little-Little with such limited wall space. This idea will make the most of both vertical and horizontal spaces in my much smaller house. I found the idea here. Peace, B.
I really like this idea for a planter or candle holder. The plain clothes pins are adorable, but I think painting them would be cutie patootie, too. I found this idea here. Peace, B.
Many readers have asked for information on co-operatives in Georgia. Here is what I could find! If you live elsewhere, here is a complete directory. Peace, B.
Daily Groceries Food Co-op
523 Prince Ave
Athens Georgia 30601-
Phone: (706) 548-1732
FAX: (706) 548-9877
Sevananda Food Co-op
467 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta Georgia 30307-
Phone: (404) 681-2831
FAX: (404) 577-3940
2555 J Warren Road
Cornelia Georgia 30531-
Phone: (706) 776-3488
Life Grocery Natural Food Co-op & Café
1453 Roswell Road
Marietta Georgia 30062-
Phone: (770) 977-9583
FAX: (770) 977-9456
I have no source for this awesome at home spa treatment guide. That's a pity because it's wonderful. Some of these, I've used personally and love. I am becoming more and more prone to red splotches on my face and use the egg yolk and lemon juice facial technique. Just apply, let dry for about five minutes and gently wash away. Easy peasy and oh, so effective.